Wolverhampton Wanderers deepened the gloom at West Ham United with a 3-1
Premier League win
West Ham United 1-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
A hugely disappointing night at the Boleyn Ground against a resurgent
Wolverhampton Wanderers has left West Ham United deep in Barclays Premier
League relegation trouble.
Kevin Doyle set Wolves on their way midway through the first half with a
cool finish after James Tomkins misjudged a back-pass. Scott Parker came
close to making amends with an effort that rattled the post at the end of
the first half. It was to prove hugely pivotal as Ronald Zubar and Matt
Jarvis went on to score after the interval, and Guille Franco's late
consolation was witnessed by barely half the original crowd. West Ham began
the contest a point and place behind their visitors, knowing they had a
chance to move six points clear of the bottom three. Gianfranco Zola had
given Benni McCarthy his home debut in place of Franco while Parker and
Carlton Cole were restored at the expense of Junior Stanislas and Mido.
Wolves, unsurprisingly perhaps after a win and a draw in their last two away
games, were on top from the kick-off. They were the first to go for goal,
with Kevin Foley hitting the crossbar as early as the eighth minute. The
Hammers by contrast did not show at the other end until 20 minutes gone when
Cole fired tamely at Marcus Hahnemann. As the half-hour mark approached, a
Tomkins error allowed Doyle to race through and the Republic of Ireland
forward slotted calmly past the despairing Robert Green. Matthew Upson and
Cole had chances after that but neither could make them count and Wolves
dominated the play by playing a neat passing game.
After a legitimate Wolves shout for a penalty from a Kovac challenge,
Parker's run and shot as half-time approached summed up the night. The
midfielder did tremendously to surge through the defence before cracking an
effort across goal with Hahnemann beaten only to see the ball strike the
post and come away to safety. The manager made a double change at half-time,
introducing Junior Stanislas and Jonathan Spector for Radoslav Kovac and
Tomkins but it did not have the desired affect. It was a good nine minutes
before the Hammers tested Hahenmann with a low shot from distance by
Alessandro Diamanti that the US keeper comfortably saved. Wolves were just
biding their time and quickly added the second and third goals. Firstly
Zubar found space on the right-hand side and fired confidently into the net.
Then, Jervis latched on to Doyle's pass and executed a similarly precise
finish. The goal left the home fans stunned before making their feelings
known. The last throw of the dice came on 71 minutes with Franco on for
McCarthy while Stephen Ward arrived for Jarvis. The Mexico striker had his
first go on goal soon after but it was wild and wayward. He was more direct
on 78 minutes with a neat swerve past two men before letting fly with an
effort that Hahnemann pushed over. Zubar made way on 80 minutes for Greg
Halford as Mick McCarthy looked to make sure of no nervy moments for his
men. In the final five minutes Diamanti twice let fly but neither effort
really troubled Hahnemann before Franco beat the offside trap and lifted the
ball over the keeper and into the net. Too little, too late. The defeat made
it five straight for Zola's men, and raised the stakes for Saturday's home
encounter with Stoke City. With Wolves moving four points clear, the Hammers
will instead have to looking over their shoulders at Hull City and Burnley
and hope they can do enough in the last seven matches to keep them at bay.
Zola reflects on Wolves loss
The manager accepted the criticism after a 3-1 home defeat but said his team
would turn things around
Gianfranco Zola is ready to stand up and be counted ahead of Saturday's
vital home match with Stoke City after the major disappointment of losing to
Wolves on Tuesday. The manager said he would take the criticism for the 3-1
defeat that left the club just three points from safety, having previously
accepted the plaudits when guiding the club to a tenth-placed finish last
season. "The team is not performing very well right now and I take the
responsibility for that," he said. "Last year when we were playing well, the
fans were giving me the compliments and I took them. Now, they are blaming
me and I have to take that as well because that is part of the job. I have
no problem with that."
He also had no issue with the fans voicing their displeasure publicly during
the match, describing it as "normal" for the situation facing the team.
Rather than dwell on the negatives, he recognised "there is only one way to
react". He added: "We have got another big game on Saturday. That is going
to be even more difficult than this one. We will have to play against a
Stoke team that is strong and also we will have to get the crowd behind us
which is going to be another big thing to do. "Wolves were certainly better
than us. Whether they were more up for it I don't know. My players tried
their best but we did it in a disjointed way and we made it very difficult
for ourselves. "That is very painful for me because obviously that is my
duty to correct. I take full responsibility for that."
James Tomkins does not turn 21 until next week and the manager said the
Academy graduate, who was at fault for Kevin Doyle's opener, had the will
and desire to put things right. "He is 20 and he made a mistake that has
been very costly. He has to learn and become stronger if he wants to survive
in this competitive world. "We are all in this together and we have to react
all together. The younger ones have to grow up quickly because the situation
While acknowledging the fans' right to vent their frustration, Zola said he
wanted to be the focus of that feeling rather than his men. "Come to me, not
the players. The players have to go on the pitch and they have to feel
confident. If people want to pick on someone, they have to pick on me. I am
responsible for the team." The manager will have plenty of options to ponder
at the weekend with more players returning to fitness and Manuel da Costa
back from suspension. He also found some positives in the form of the
"excellent" Scott Parker and goalscorer Guillermo Franco who "played very
well, was professional and gave his all".
Before turning his thoughts properly to Stoke, Zola admitted he would be in
for a "long night" of reflection on the Wolves performance, while stressing
as well that he would not allow himself to linger too long on the negatives.
"I try to do my work as best as I can every single day. I have no time or
desire to worry about things. Worrying won't help me do a better job. I am
concerned but I try to think only about the things I can change. I am still
very confident in this team."
'We have to make things better'
Benni McCarthy has vowed to help the club return to winning ways after a
'horrible' home debut
Benni McCarthy insisted that every single West Ham United player is
determined to drag the club out of its "horrible" situation. The South
Africa striker's home debut for the club was marred by a hugely
disappointing team performance and a 3-1 Barclays Premier League defeat by
Wolverhampton Wanderers. The loss left West Ham three points above the
relegation zone with seven games remaining. The display and result led some
Hammers fans to vent their frustration at the players vocally, and McCarthy
admitted the supporters had every right to be upset by what they had seen.
"It was horrible," said the No17. "It was one of those days in football, but
we still have 21 points to play for and hopefully we can get ten or eleven
and that will be enough. "It was not the best vibe in the dressing room
afterwards, as everyone was reflecting on the game, basically, but we've got
another game on Saturday, so hopefully we can make things happen. "I know
that if things go like this, then the fans have paid to come and watch the
games and if they feel the team is not giving them what they deserve, then
they are entitled to make their feelings known. We have to respect that and
make things better."
A UEFA Champions League winner with his time at FC Porto, McCarthy has been
around the game long enough to know that the next match always presents the
perfect opportunity to put things right. With that in mind, the forward said
everyone within the home dressing room was desperate to get back to winning
ways against Stoke City at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday. "Hopefully, on
Saturday, we get a chance to change their minds. We're all in this situation
together - us as much as them. If we can get them behind us, it can only
help us. "We're heartbroken to be in this situation, but we've got to come
together and stand tall. If we do, we can get the results and see the season
out. When we stay in the Premier League, we'll come back next season and not
make the same start and find ourselves in this horrible situation again."
West Ham 1 - 3 Wolverhampton
By Mark Ashenden
Wolves made a huge leap towards Premier League safety with a crushing
victory over fellow strugglers West Ham. The visitors went close when Kevin
Foley hit the bar and took the lead when a scuffed James Tomkins backpass
fell to Kevin Doyle who fired home. David Jones set up Ronald Zubar to
rifle in and then passed to Matthew Jarvis who blasted in for a fine third.
Scott Parker hit a post for West Ham in the first half, leaving Guillermo
Franco to chip in a late consolation. But it was too little too late for the
Hammers who lacked ideas and confidence and boss Gianfranco Zola will be
concerned as he prepares for the final seven games of the season only three
points away from the drop zone. West Ham, in 17th spot, were facing the team
one place above them with Zola calling the clash "a massive six pointer" as
he desperately sought to avoid a fifth successive league defeat. Mick
McCarthy's pre-match motivational speech to his players was likely to have
pointed towards their opponents recalling star players after a rested few
days with Zola having 'targeted' Wolves. The Italian boss brought back
fit-again skipper Parker, along with two strikers who did not start in the
2-0 loss at Arsenal, Carlton Cole and Benni McCarthy, but it was the
visitors who ripped open a very nervous defence inside seven minutes. It was
a chance initiated by a long punt from keeper Marcus Hahnemann and created
by the two Kevins, as lone striker Doyle headed on to Foley who outsprinted
Matthew Upson before blasting against the bar. And the hosts were caught out
again on the half-hour mark when Tomkins mis-hit a backpass to his keeper
and Doyle pounced to burst through and neatly squeeze his shot off the post
and in for his seventh goal of the season. McCarthy's mood quickly changed
from joy to anger as his side were denied a penalty appeal when Radoslav
Kovac clumsily hacked down Jones, but referee Phil Dowd was unmoved. A
minute before the break the Irons finally gave their fans something to cheer
about with their skipper going agonisingly close to the equaliser.
Parker picked up the ball 40 yards out and danced his way into the box
before firing his shot against the inside of the right post. The ball
bounced back into Parker's path and again he was deprived as Hahnemann
reacted brilliantly to scoop the ball off the line from the midfielder's
rebound. Both Tomkins and Kovac paid a heavy price for a sloppy opening 45
minutes by being replaced by Junior Stanislas and Jonathan Spector. Despite
the occasional sparks from Cole on the edge of the box, West Ham continued
to disappoint as an attacking force, and on the hour it was their defence
that crumbled. Two goals conceded inside three minutes, both created by the
irrepressible Jones, effectively ended the contest. The midfielder picked
out Zubar out wide on the right and despite the Frenchman needing to shoot
from a tight angle, he showed no hesitation in blasting the ball past Green
for his first Premier League goal. The dissatisfaction at Upton Park soon
turned to anger as fans headed for the exits after watching Jarvis turn the
defence inside out after picking up a fine Jones throughball and firing low
into the net for the third. The hosts showed some late battling qualities
and substitute Franco chipped in after Valon Behrami's threaded pass, but it
was all too late. On the day West Ham's new co-owners, David Gold and David
Sullivan, stepped up their bid to occupy the Olympic Stadium after the 2012
Games, the pair will be desperately hoping their club will still be in the
top-flight to enjoy it.
Gianfranco Zola takes blame for home defeat to Wolves
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola said he took full responsibility after a 3-1
defeat by fellow strugglers Wolves. A fifth successive loss left them three
points from the relegation zone and had the home fans venting their fury.
"It is a big blow. For me personally and the team. These are the moments
when you have to react," Zola said. "The team is not playing well and I take
responsibility. I am personally hurt because I didn't expect a performance
like that - it is painful." Zola's team were second best throughout with
Scott Parker's shot hitting the post in the first half and a late
consolation Guillermo Franco goal the only bright moments in a dismal
display. Kevin Doyle, Ronald Zubar and Matthew Jarvis all got on the
scoresheet for Mick McCarthy's team, helping Wolves to ease their relegation
worries and lift them to 15th spot. With only seven games to turn their
season around, Zola is under increasing pressure and was disappointed to
hear the supporters expressing their dissatisfaction in the closing stages.
"It hurts me very much," the Italian told BBC Sport. "I have a close bond
with this team and I don't like it. The only way we can do better is to play
better. That's the only way we can react to this. "Wolves played well and I
was impressed and surprised by their performance. But when you are in this
situation, shouting at the team will not help. "It is very difficult to take
any positives out of this. It's been simply a bad day for us and I need to
think a lot about that."
Meanwhile, McCarthy was delighted to see his side come through so
impressively and help their bid to stay in the Premier League. After
securing a seventh point over their last three games - all played on their
travels - the Wolves boss said: "We have not sewn anything up yet but we
have gone a long way towards helping out. "The scoreline didn't flatter us.
We played very well and deserved that victory. I don't think anyone could
disagree with that. "It was a vital win for us in terms of us concertinaed
the league above us a little bit more and doing damage to West Ham."
West Ham Utd 1 Wolves 3
Filed: Wednesday, 24th March 2010
By: Staff Writer
West Ham are in deep trouble at the foot of the Premier League after
suffering a catastrophic defeat at home to fellow strugglers Wolverhampton
Wanderers at the Boleyn tonight.
Gianfranco Zola's side went down 3-1 on the night to a Wolves side that,
prior to this evening's fixture were just a point above them in the table.
Worse for the Hammers boss is that the scoreline flattered West Ham, who
were comprehensively beaten by a side that many expected them to overcome
and thereby signal the start of United's climb away from danger.
But that was not to be the case as the Hammers folded under the pressure,
several choruses of boos and chants of 'you're not fit to wear the shirt' -
not to mention a barrage of cardboard clap banners, the latest barmy idea
introduced by the club in conjunction with sponsors SBOBET in an attempt to
'enhance' the Boleyn atmosphere.
Despite being given a thunderous welcome by the supporters the team failed
to respond and portents of what were to follow came with just eight minutes
on the clock when Kevin Foley stole ahead of young full back Fabio Daprela
to rattle the crossbar with a fierce effort from a tight angle.
With West Ham struggling to cope with Wolves' extra man in midfield - a
tactical change instigated by Mick McCarthy despite having taken four points
form their previous two away fixtures - more chances were bound to follow
and it was no surprise when the Wanderers took the lead on 28 minutes - a
gift from James Tomkins, whose back pass to Rob Green was well short.
Kevin Doyle, receiver of much praise from neutral sources of late still had
plenty to do when he intercepted the errant Tomkins' back pass, but he held
his nerve - and a half-hearted challenge from Matthew Upson off - before
firing into Rob Green's far corner with a precise effort to stun the Boleyn
West Ham - and Radoslav Kovac in particular - were then a touch fortunate to
see a penalty appeal waved away shortly after by picky referee Phil Dowd
when the big Czech international needlessly bundled over David Jones on the
perimeter of the penalty box. Zola's side went on to finish the half
strongly; Scott Parker going closest to levelling the game with a double
effort that saw his first shot hit the inside of the post and the rebound
scrambled away by goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.
Half time saw the introduction of Junior Stanislas for the
once-again-disappointing Kovac and Jon Spector at centre half in place of
young defender Tomkins, who had been responsible for the error that led to
the only goal of the opening half (the official line being that Tomkins had
sustained a foot injury) - plus yet another appearance from a bunch of
'Hammerettes' who, quite frankly, looked as if they should have been safely
tucked up in bed by that time.
With the crowd mustering up as much enthusiasm as is possible when a goal
behind, West Ham started the second period the stronger but having fashioned
only a couple of half chances, fell a further goal behind to a real sucker
punch. Captain Upson was once again culpable having lost position cheaply
inside West Ham's own third, and Ronald Zubar fired the ball home past Green
to the delight of the (full) away enclosure.
Still reeling from that bitter blow, it got even worse for the Irons just a
minute later when Matthew Jarvis marched through a retreating, and by that
time panicking, West Ham defence before planting the ball beyond Green to
make it 3-0 to Wolves. That was just about as much as many furious Hammers
fans could take and hundreds of 'clap banners' were hurled onto the pitch -
whilst chants of 'you're not fit to wear the shirt' rang out loud and clear
around the stadium.
West Ham did manage to make the final score look slightly more respectable
when sub Guille Franco grabbed a 93rd minute consolation with a clever chip
over the advancing Hahnemann, despite looking a mile offside. But that did
little to enhance a performance that left huge question marks over the
team's ability to stay in the Premier League - and the manager's ability to
lead them to safety.
Zola on ... Wolves
Filed: Wednesday, 24th March 2010
By: Staff Writer
A defiant Gianfranco Zola shares his thoughts on tonight's demoralising
defeat against Wolves at the Boleyn.
Did Wolves work harder?
They were certainly better than us. Whether they were more up for it than
us, I don't know. My players tried their best but we did it in a disjointed
way and we made it very difficult for ourselves. It's not that they didn't
try - they tried, but they tried in a disorganised way. That is very, very
painful for me because obviously that is my duty to correct it, so I take
full responsibility for that. Now there's only one way, just react. We've
got another big game coming on Saturday which is going to be more difficult
that this one because we have to play against a team that is strong. Also
we'll have to get the crowd behind us and this is going to be another tough
thing to do. That's all I can say.
How do you lift the players? That must really hit their confidence.
It does, but we have to start somewhere - so we will be working on that.
How did you feel about the fans chanting at you?
The lucky thing is that I don't understand many words! But that's okay, it's
normal. The team is not performing very well right now and I take
responsibility for that, so I have to stand that criticism. Last year when
we were playing well they were filling me with compliments so now they are
blaming me I have to take that as well, becasue it's part of the job. I have
no problem [with that], my concern is the team. I need to make sure they
react straight away and I have a long night in front of me to think about
Worried you may not have enough time to turn it round?
I try to focus on the things can I can do rather than worry about the things
I can't. We'll see, whether I'm going to be able to do that I don't know, we
will see. But as I said, I've got a long night in front of me to think about
it and see what way we can go.
James Tomkins - replaced because of the mistake?
No, it was because he had a pain in his foot. He felt something in his foot
and there was a problem.
Was he very upset?
Obviously, as you can imagine. He's a 20-year-old boy and he's made a
mistake that has been very costly so you can imagine [how he feels]. But he
has to learn, he has to become stronger if he wants to survive in this
The pressure - too much for the youngsters?
Pressure doesn't help, but we are all in this together and we have to react
together. The younger ones, they have to become older quicker because the
situation requires that.
Fans chanting 'you're not fit to wear the shirt'. Unfair?
I think it's a little bit unfair because the players tried everything - you
cannot say they didn't try. I think it's unfair, if they want to pick on
somebody then pick on me - I'm responsible for the team, they tried and they
worked very hard until the end. They worked more as individuals than as a
team but that is my responsibility. But if they want to chant something,
chant at me - not them.
The players, they have to leave them - because they belong to West Ham,
they're working for West Ham and they're committed to West Ham. Okay? That
is the thing they have to realise. If they want to pick on somebody, they
can pick on me - I've no problem. I took the compliments, I can take the
criticism - but they have to leave the players in peace.
Carlton [and the fans] at the end. Did you see it?
No I didn't see that, I've just been told that he was having problems with
some fans. I don't know, I didn't hear it so I cannot comment on that. But
again, Carlton Cole represents West Ham and he's trying. Whether he's not
playing at his best now is another matter, but he's trying.
The players have to go on the pitch feeling confident. We don't help them
The owners - will they give you time to get the club out of trouble?
It's okay, the owners can do whatever they feel is the right thing to do. I
try to do my work as best as I can, every single day. If it's not considered
good enough it's no problem, they can tell me.
So you're not worried?
I told you - I have no time, no desire to be worrying about [such] things.
Worrying doesn't help me to do a better job... I have concerns.
Positives - Parker was exceptional and Franco to start on Saturday?
We'll see. I think Parker has done very, very well. Guillermo, when he came
on was unbelieveable, he played very well. He was professional and played
from his heart but I knew he is a player like that. We will see, as I said -
it's too early but it might be an option.
Zola - I'll win fans over
Under-fire Upton chief calls on players to "grow up" in survival bid
By Danny Wright Last updated: 24th March 2010
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola promised to get the club's supporters back
on his side following the damaging 3-1 defeat at the hands of relegation
rivals Wolves at Upton Park. The Hammers faithful made their feelings known
as they exited the stadium with just under half an hour remaining as Matthew
Jarvis fired in Wolves' third goal that condemned the London club to their
fifth successive defeat. The ones that did remain to witness Guillermo
Franco's late consolation vented their anger at the full-time whistle, with
some of the criticism directed at the under-fire Italian boss. But Zola
insisted he could handle the pressure he is facing and said he took
responsibility for the team's poor form. And the former Chelsea player
reiterated his belief that the club could survive - pledging to turn the
fortunes around in a bid to win over the disgruntled fan base. He told Sky
Sports: "There are no problems - I know my position is like that. When you
do something that is not good then you are responsible for it. "I'm okay
because I know I'm trying everything to make this team better. Sometimes it
works, sometimes it doesn't work. "I believe that we play for West Ham so we
will fully make sure they are behind us. Obviously we have to do better than
we did today to make sure they are behind us." On survival, he added: "I'm
still very confident of that."
Two second-half goals in the space of three minutes sealed the Hammers'
fate, as Ronald Zubar and Jarvis added to an early hit from Kevin Doyle to
put Mick McCarthy's side in control. The defeat leaves United just three
points above the drop zone, and victory could have lifted them ahead of
Wigan and Wolves with a six-point cushion. But their nervous performance led
to their undoing, and Zola said his players must adapt to the situation
quickly if they are to haul themselves out of the trouble. The indifferent
performance left the club's support unhappy, with striker Carlton Cole said
to be involved in an altercation with one fan as the teams left the pitch.
Zola said he did not see the incident - but admitted he could understand why
the Upton Park crowd were upset with his players. He went on: "I haven't
seen that. But it's a moment where you have to be controlled because you
can't afford to do anything that is not good. "We need to grow up quickly
because there's a situation that requires a lot of experience. "I understand
the fans. They are very demanding on us and they don't like to see the team
losing. I'm the first one to say that."
Wolves hunt down Hammers
McCarthy's men turn on style to leave Zola reeling
By Danny Wright Last updated: 23rd March 2010
Man of the Match: Michael Mancienne. Centre-half was pressed into duty in a
holding midfield role and he didn't disappoint. The Chelsea loan star won
everything, mopping up any danger with a succession of vital headers and
Shot of the Match: Ronald Zubar unleashed a stunning drive for the second
goal, storming onto a David Jones pass to rattle it past the helpless Robert
Save of the Match: Marcus Hahnemann had to be sharp to deny Guillermo
Franco, turning the striker's shot behind to keep his goal intact.
Moment of the Match: Wolves' third goal, scored by Matthew Jarvis. The
strike rubber-stamped a fine performance from Mick McCarthy's side, who
thoroughly deserved their convincing victory.
Talking point: Are Wolves out of the woods now? What happens to Gianfranco
Zola now, having lost five games on the bounce? Can Hull and Burnley catch
the struggling London club?
Two goals in three second-half minutes helped Wolves record a stunning 3-1
victory over fellow strugglers West Ham at Upton Park to pile the pressure
on their relegation rivals. Wolves had the better of the opening half and
capitalised on the home side's nervous approach when Kevin Doyle pounced on
James Tomkins' poor touch to advance into the area and unleash a low drive
into the net via the bottom of the post. Scott Parker nearly engineered a
leveller when his run and shot came off the woodwork, but it was the
visitors who seized control when the influential David Jones played in
Ronald Zubar to crash home the second with a fine strike after 58 minutes.
And just three minutes later the game was over as a contest, George Elokobi
combining with Jones for Matthew Jarvis to slot a stylish third past Hammers
keeper Robert Green. West Ham did pull one back, thanks to Guillermo
Franco's late clipped effort, but it was Mick McCarthy's side who eased
their relegation worries with the vital win, pulling seven points clear of
the drop zone.
Wolves are looking safe - but this mauling leaves West Ham perched
perilously just three points above Hull, Burnley and the relegation zone.
And on the evidence of this game, West Ham lack the hunger, the quality and
the composure to stay in the top flight. Wolves were quite the opposite.
Franco came off the bench to score in injury-time for West Ham but it was
the hollowest of consolation goals. By then, Upton Park was almost empty.
The new joint-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan were still in their
seats and they had to listen to the boos and the chants of "you're not fit
to wear the shirt". Kieron Dyer may no longer be alone on their list of
overpaid and underperforming players. West Ham crumbled the moment Doyle,
who led the line magnificently all evening, pounced on a defensive howler
from Tomkins to put Wolves ahead. Wolves had fired a warning shot inside
eight minutes when Doyle beat Matthew Upson to a long ball and flicked it on
for Kevin Foley, who struck a rising shot from an acute angle that beat
Green but rattled the crossbar. West Ham had started brightly and took the
game to Wolves. Scott Parker tried his luck from distance and Julien Faubert
cut in from the left before dragging his shot harmlessly across goal. Benni
McCarthy picked out Carlton Cole's run into the box but he was well
marshalled by Jody Craddock and scuffed his left-footed shot. But West Ham
lacked a cutting edge and had nothing to show for all their possession when
Wolves landed a sucker punch. Tomkins failed to deal with a simple pass 40
yards from his own goal, Doyle pounced on the loose ball and bore down on
goal before sliding his angled shot past Green and into the far corner. The
goal sparked a major shift in momentum. Wolves began to dictate play and
should have had a penalty when Radoslav Kovac chopped Jones down on the edge
of the box but referee Dowd waved play on. West Ham were chasing shadows as
Wolves built a slick move with Michael Mancienne and Doyle interchanging
passes wonderfully to create a shooting opportunity for Jones, which was
deflected wide. McCarthy opened up the Wolves defence with a clever lay-off
for Parker, who charged into the box and curled a right footed shot past
Hahnemann but it rebounded off the inside of the post and rolled across the
But Wolves scrambled the ball clear and preserved their lead into the
interval, when Zola made two key changes with Tomkins replaced by Jonathan
Spector and Junior Stanislas sent on for Kovac. Soon after the break,
Faubert picked out McCarthy at the near post but the South African striker
could not twist his header on target and it drifted wide.
Diamanti, who had switched wings to accommodate Stanislas, worked some space
in-field and tested Hahnemann with a bobbling effort from 25 yards but the
American keeper was equal to it. West Ham almost gifted Wolves another goal
when the alert Jarvis came close to intercepting a poor header from Faubert
back to Green. But it was only a temporary reprieve as Wolves struck twice
in three minutes. West Ham failed to clear their lines properly and Zubar
raced onto Jones' pass into the box and he drove a cross-shot low past
Green. Jones was the creator again and this time Jarvis latched onto his
through ball into the box and he fired Wolves into a 3-0 lead, sparking
elation in the away end and anger everywhere else. Chants of "you're not fit
to wear the shirt" rang around the stadium and the "clap-banners" West Ham
had provided to help create and atmosphere were thrown in fury. Franco
scored with a deft chip over Hahnemann but the game had long since gone as
Wolves sealed a deserved victory.
Brady backs Hammers' 2012 bid
Hammers can host athletics alongside top flight football, says chief
By Danny Wright Last updated: 23rd March 2010
West Ham vice-chairman Karen Brady says the club's joint bid with Newham
Council to buy the London 2012 Olympic stadium could deliver a lasting
legacy for the city. The Hammers and Newham Council announced on Tuesday
they would table an offer to take over the £537m stadium once the Games are
completed, with plans to include an Olympic visitor centre and football
museum. There had been doubts as to whether the athletics track at the venue
would deter the Premier League club from buying the stadium.
However Brady - who recently arrived at Upton Park alongside former
Birmingham owners David Gold and David Sullivan - says the Olympic Park
could host both top level athletics and football. The Olympic Park Legacy
Company (OPLC), the company set up to manage the planning and legacy of the
Park, had invited outside organisations to register their interest in taking
up use of the facilities following 2012. The 80,000 seat stadium was to be
scaled back to 25,000 after the Games' conclusion, although OPLC said no
decision had been made on the venue that has been provisionally included in
England's 2018 World Cup bid. West Ham appeared tentative in their initial
enquiries about moving into the stadium, but Brady said the Hammers and
Newham Council could deliver a viable solution to the arena's post-Games
usage. She told the club's official website: "It is about realising the full
potential of the Olympic Park. As well-established local organisations,
Newham Council and West Ham United are best placed to make it happen.
"If achievable it is the ideal answer for those who rightly demand a
sustainable legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games and not a white elephant. "We
acknowledge the need for the stadium to host world-class athletics and so it
should. But it can accommodate football too - and a whole lot more. There
has to be a way of achieving that."
West Ham 1 Wolves 3
From ANDREW DILLON at Upton Park
Published: 23 Mar 2010
ARMAGEDDON is just around the corner at Upton Park and boss Gianfranco Zola
must be thinking: "I'm a getting outta here." A FIFTH successive defeat -
the worst run of the Italian's turbulent spell - left West Ham deep in the
relegation mix while handing Wolves a hefty lifeline. Hammers co-chairman
David Sullivan predicts 'Armageddon' if his side are relegated. The end of
the football world in this part of East London is closer after a
catastrophic loss. And Zola could be pushed before he jumps ship. His policy
of cherry-picking matches to field his first team has backfired
spectacularly. The Italian has rested key players, mixing and matching his
team in readiness for big games - just like this one. It was the first 'six
pointer' of the season and Wolves grabbed everything with ease. A precious
win, three goals and a performance which will have boosted confidence no end
for Mick McCarthy's side. Goals from Kevin Doyle, Ronald Zubar and Matthew
Jarvis did more than silence the crowd at Upton Park - they sparked fury
from the fans. They feel the players, like the manager, have come up short
and will vent their fury in the East End boozers and famous pie 'n mash
shops today. Managing West Ham is Zola's first full-time job in management
and it is now odds-on to come to a shuddering end. Former Manchester City
boss Mark Hughes, Croatia supremo Slaven Bilic and FC Twente's Steve
McClaren are the three favourites to take over should Zola go, as he is
expected to, along with No 2 Steve Clarke. This match was snowed off back in
January and when the two teams finally got it on last night, the result came
like an avalanche on top of Zola. The pre-match build-up and the artificial,
pumped-up atmosphere belonged to West Ham aided by thousands of annoying
clap-banners handed out to fans before kick off. However, the opening salvo
came from Wolves with a major let-off for the home side. Doyle beat Matthew
Upson to the punch in an aerial battle and headed on to Kevin Foley. He
skinned left-back Fabio Daprela and from a tight angle, smacked against the
crossbar. Wolves' lone striker Doyle was the first to grab the chance to put
his team in the driving seat. It took an absolute howler by West Ham
centre-half James Tomkins to gift Doyle the opening - but it took real nerve
to make the most of it. Tomkins made a complete hash of intercepting a long,
low punt. His 28th-minute back-pass to Rob Green fell horrendously short and
Doyle collected, stormed into the area and beat the England keeper with a
textbook finish across the face of goal and into the corner. Tomkins is only
20 and has had a lot of pressure heaped on his shoulders. He was only in the
starting line-up because of injury to Danny Gabbidon. And the defensive
problems at Upton Park go deeper than just one error from a youngster.
Many fans feel last summer's hasty £5million sale of tough Wales centre-half
James Collins to Aston Villa has left a gaping hole in Zola's back four.
Wolves had West Ham scrambling around and chasing the game for long periods
of the first half. It got so easy for the visitors that the home crowd soon
let rip with a chorus of boos as the Hammers struggled to get a grip on the
game. Keeper Marcus Hahnemann comfortably swatted away the few West Ham
attacks and only once came under serious pressure in the first half. Scott
Parker stormed into the area and his shot hit the inside of the post and
went back along the line. Parker had another go from the rebound but
Hahnemann stopped the ball dead on the line and left-back George Elokobi
lumped upfield. Hopes of a home recovery were dashed in the second half when
their display went from disappointing to dreadful. A double substitution
with Tomkins hooked for Jonathan Spector and Junior Stanislas on for
Radoslav Kovac made no difference. After 58 minutes Wolves doubled their
lead as right-back Zubar broke away and smashed his shot across Green. Three
minutes later a Jarvis strike sealed a fantastic win for Wolves and
triggered rebellion in the stands at Upton Park. Thousands streamed for the
exits. Those who remained did see Guillermo Franco chip an injury-time goal
from Behrami's pass but still chanted 'We Want Our Money Back'. Wolves fans
don't. They would pay double to watch their boys play like this every week.
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
STAR MAN - Kevin Doyle (Wolves)
WEST HAM: Green 5, Faubert 4, Tomkins 4 (Spector 4), Upson 4, Daprela 4,
Behrami 4, Parker 6, Kovac 4 (Stanislav 4), Diamanti 5, McCarthy 4 (Franco
4), Cole 5. Subs not used: Stech, Ilan, Mido, Noble.
WOLVES: Hahnemann 7, Zubar 7, Berra 7, Craddock 6, Elokobi 7, Henry 6,
Mancienne 7, D Jones 6, Foley 7, Doyle 8, Jarvis 7 (Ward 5). Subs not used:
Hennessey, Ebanks-Blake, Halford, Iwelumo, Milijas, Guedioura. Booked:
Council backing for Brady
WEST HAM have teamed up with their local council in their efforts to take
over the Olympic Stadium. Hammers vice-chairman Karren Brady is working with
the London Borough of Newham on plans to use the £537million venue after the
2012 Games. Olympic bosses pledged the Stratford site would be used for
athletics but Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said: "The last thing anyone
wants is for the stadium to become a ghost of Olympics past." Brady hopes to
persuade the Olympic Park Legacy Company the venue can host football and
athletics. She said: "It's about realising the full potential of the Olympic
Park." The 80,000-seat capacity was set to drop to 25,000 but that may
Cole cop shame after fan row
By ANDREW DILLON
CARLTON COLE was restrained by police and security guards after a bust-up
with a supporter on a disastrous night for crisis-hit West Ham. Angry fans
also turned on boss Gianfranco Zola as the Hammers fell deep into relegation
trouble with defeat to Wolves - their FIFTH straight loss. Striker Benni
McCarthy said: "I thought Coley knew the guy at first as they were speaking
normally. "Eventually I saw some other players go back out and drag him
inside." And a West Ham fan who witnessed the event told SunSport that Cole
was dragged down the tunnel - only to return to hurl more abuse at the fan.
Teenager Jonnie Chew from Barking - a season- ticket holder for three years
- said: "Cole got some abuse from the fans and gave some back. "Police and
security took him away but then he came back for more. "The cops dealt with
him and told the fans around the tunnel to leave."
Goals from Kevin Doyle, Ronald Zubar and Matthew Jarvis condemned West Ham
to their worst run under Zola. The pressure is mounting on the Italian. The
manager said: "Cole represents West Ham and he's trying. Whether he's not
playing at his best is one matter, he's trying. "I've been told he had a
problem with some fan." Supporters also called for Zola's head and accused
his flops of being unfit to wear the shirt. Former Man City boss Mark
Hughes, ex-Hammers defender Slaven Bilic and Steve McClaren are being touted
as possible successors if Zola is axed by co-owners David Gold and David
Sullivan. Zola said: "I try to do my best every day. If that's not
considered good enough, there you go. It's my duty to correct that, I take
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy said: "I didn't expect to come here and win
this comfortably. "If it'd been at Wolves, we'd have had a nervy crowd on
our backs if we'd conceded. It's the same at Man City, Halifax or Barnsley.
Carlton Cole clashes with West Ham fans after relegation fears intensify
West Ham United 1 Wolves 3
Gianfranco Zola said it was painful for him, but this comprehensive defeat
was painful for everyone connected to West Ham United. The supporters jeered
the players and, for the first time, their manager. too. At the end last
night, Carlton Cole, the West Ham and England striker, was involved in an
angry confrontation with several fans. It was very, very painful for me and
I take full responsibility for that," Zola said of the defeat.
Zola had been criticised by David Sullivan, the West Ham co-owner, for being
too nice to handle the trauma of a relegation battle. And this defeat bore
all the hallmarks of a performance run by pleasantries. True, Zola hauled
James Tomkins, whose glaring error led to the first goal, off at half-time
but even that was not as ruthless as it might have appeared after Zola
confirmed the young defender had a foot injury. "The owners can do whatever
they feel is the right thing to do," Zola said. "I try to do my work as best
I can every single day. If that's not considered good enough, there you go."
This was just the result Hull City and Burnley needed. West Ham truly can be
considered part of the relegation tussle. But then Zola's side performed as
if they knew that from kick-off, failing to take their cue from a supremely
confident Wolverhampton Wanderers side who more than deserved their first
victory at Upton Park since 1978.
Zola was not expected to stay beyond the summer but may now leave much
sooner. The fans received free clap banners that produced a curious static
noise that initially served partially to drown out the groans. By the end
the banners sounded more like nails being hammered into coffins.
"Maybe what went on today got to him and he reacted the wrong way," Benni
McCarthy said of Cole's dispute with the supporters.
If starting the evening four points above the relegation zone can give a
team a sense of superiority, Wolves were glad to adopt it. The first real
chance fell to Mick McCarthy's side with Kevin Foley hitting the crossbar.
It was a warning that the visitors were in a feisty frame of mind and it was
no shock when they took the lead.
A mistake by Tomkins, who seemed unsure if he wanted to play the ball
backwards or forwards, allowed Kevin Doyle to nip in, scamper towards goal
and beat Robert Green at his far post with an almost relaxed left-footed
Once Wolves had taken a two-goal lead, the crowd's mood darkened. David
Jones fed Ronald Zubar and his rifled shot was surprisingly confident for a
defender scoring only his second goal for the club. The ever excellent Matt
Jarvis skipped on to another cute Jones pass two minutes later to make it
3-0, with Green left staring at another shot nestling in the corner of his
The best move of the game, started by Alessandro Diamanti's fine cross-field
ball to Junior Stanislas, belonged to West Ham — not for them route one in a
crisis — but produced the best save, denying them a stirring finale even
though Guillermo Franco lobbed the keeper for a consolation goal in added
The Wolves defence were furious as they had to a man assumed Franco was
offside but the home fans were left wondering why their players had not
looked half as annoyed with themselves all game.
West Ham United (4-4-2): R Green — J Faubert, J Tomkins (sub: J Spector,
46min), M Upson, F Daprela — V Behrami, S Parker, R Kovac (sub: J Stanislas,
46), A Diamanti — B McCarthy (sub: G Franco, 71), C Cole. Substitutes not
used: M Stech, Ilan, Mido, M Noble.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-1-4-1): M Hahnemann — R Zubar (sub: G Halford,
80), J Craddock, C Berra, G Elokobi — M Mancienne (sub: A Guedioura, 86) — K
Foley, K Henry, D Jones, M Jarvis (sub: S Ward, 71) — K Doyle. Substitutes
not used: W Hennessey, S Ebanks-Blake, C Iwelumo, N Milijas. Booked: Zubar,
Referee: P Dowd.
Zola facing the sack after Wolves humiliation
Published 23:44 23/03/10 By Darren Lewis
Gianfranco Zola is on the brink of the sack at West Ham after his
under-achievers were humiliated by Mick McCarthy's Wolves. Angry Hammers
fans blasted their own players with chants of 'You're Not Fit To Wear The
Shirt' and 'You're Getting Sacked In The Morning' as Zola's team fell apart.
Striker Carlton Cole had to be dragged away by police after reacting to
taunts from his own fans at the final whistle. And owners David Gold and
David Sullivan were fuming after the Midlanders grabbed their first win at
Upton Park for 32 years. Zola, who cut a forlorn figure as his own fans
taunted him, said: "The owners can do whatever they feel is the right thing
to do. "As I said, I try to do my work as best I can every single day. If
that's not good enough, not considered good enough, there you go. "I have no
time or desire to live worrying about things. I think worry doesn't help me
do a better job. "I didn't see but I've been told that Carlton had a problem
with some fan. "But Carlton Cole represents West Ham and he's trying.
Whether he's not playing at his best right now is one matter, but he's
Striker Benni McCarthy said: "I came past. I thought Coley knew the guy at
first because they were speaking normally. "Then I went into the dressing
room and I saw some of the other players go back out and drag Coley back
inside. "We have to make our fans proud. You get to a point where somebody
says the wrong thing and it triggers off emotions. "Maybe what happened
today got to him and he reacted the wrong way."
Kevin Doyle struck in the 28th minute to leave the Hammers one place off the
relegation zone ahead of their home game against Stoke on Saturday. Ronald
Zubar smashed a spectacular second on 58 minutes and Matthew Jarvis rifled a
third two minutes later. Victory for Wolves made it seven points from their
last three games and gave their travelling fans real hope of survival.
Jubilant Wolves boss Mick McCarthy said last night: "The scoreline didn't
flatter us. I was actually annoyed we conceded a goal. "Burnley and Hull may
have thought they'd catch Wolves. Now they might be looking at Wigan and
West Ham. I hope that's what they are thinking."
Gianfranco Zola: West Ham fans should pick on me not players after
Gianfranco Zola has told West Ham's furious fans to blame him and not the
players after last night's 3-1 defeat to Wolves plunged the club deeper into
Published: 6:54AM GMT 24 Mar 2010
Kevin Doyle set Wolverhampton Wanderers on their way before Ronald Zubar and
Matthew Jarvis struck inside three second-half minutes to lift Wolves seven
points clear of danger. Guillermo Franco came off the bench to score in
injury time for West Ham but it was the hollowest of consolation goals. West
Ham on the riseWest Ham are perched perilously just three points above the
relegation zone but they are beginning to look doomed. The Upton Park crowd
voiced their anger with chants of "you're not fit to wear the shirt" - but
Zola insisted the fans direct any frustration in his direction. "I think
that chant is a little unfair because the players they tried everything,"
said Zola. "The players did their best but in a disjointed way and it made
it very difficult for us. They played as individuals. "That is very, very
painful for me because it is my duty to correct it. The team is not playing
very well and I take responsibility for that. "If (the fans) want to pick up
on somebody they must pick up on me because I am responsible. "If they want
to chant something they must chant about me. They have to leave the players
because they belong to West Ham, they are working for West Ham and they are
committed to West Ham.
"If they want to pick up on somebody they must pick up on me. "Last year
when we were playing well, I was getting compliments. I took the
compliments, I can take the criticism as well. But they should leave the
players. "The players need to be confident when they take the field. My
concern is the team and I have to make sure they react in the right way. I
have a long night in front of me to think about that."
West Ham crumbled after Doyle pounced on a defensive howler from James
Tomkins and Wolves fed off the growing dissatisfaction in the crowd. "We
didn't expect to come here and win 3-1 and be as comfortable as we were at
times," said McCarthy. "If it had been at Wolves and conceded it would have
been similar, we would have had a nervy crowd on our backs. It is the same
wherever you go and we knew that and we played on it, of course we did."
This was Wolves' biggest away win in the top flight since Nov 1983, when
they beat West Brom 3-1, and could prove a pivotal moment in the club's bid
for survival. McCarthy said: "We have not sewn anything up yet but we have
gone a long way towards helping out. "The scoreline didn't flatter us. We
played very well tonight and deserved that victory. I don't think anyone
could disagree with that. "It was a vital win for us in terms of us
concerteenering the league above us a little bit more and doing damage to
West Ham. "Burnley and Hull were thinking 'we were going to catch Wolves'.
They might just be thinking 'we might catch Wigan and West Ham now'. "They
might be looking at us and thinking 'they have done real damage to us, there
are not as many we can catch any more'. "I hope that is what they are
West Ham United 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3: match report
Read a full match report of the Premier League game between West Ham United
and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Upton Park on Tuesday March 23 2010.
By Jason Burt at Upton Park
Published: 6:45AM GMT 24 Mar 2010
It was perhaps the end of an era at the Boleyn Ground last night, the dying
days, surely, of Gianfranco Zola's tenure as manager of West Ham. They may
well stay up, by default perhaps, with the three clubs below them appearing
incapable of hauling themselves free, but it will feel hollow. This wasn't
just a defeat, it was a humiliation, a ragged capitulation. Frustrated fans
sang bitterly of players not fit to wear the shirt, of their hopes that the
manager would be sacked in the morning. How the 'genius' of Steve Coppell is
guiding Reading to promotionIt's unlikely that co-chairman David Sullivan
will be able to persuade Straumur, the bank that still owns half of West
Ham, to sanction that - if it is what he wants to do - but Zola is a man who
will have felt crushed by last night's events. Will he walk? He won't want
to but he certainly appeared shot last night, a spent force.
There was anger in his voice as he spoke afterwards and admitted he didn't
know - and seemed past caring - whether he still had the support of the new
owners. Sullivan bears some responsibility given that his takeover has
seemingly provoked some instability. He did, after all, ask whether Zola was
"too nice" and questioned whether the players were overpaid. At the same
time he protested his love for the club and talked about the errors of his
predecessors. But that's only part of the story. Sullivan cannot be blamed.
This is a collective failing. There's too much at stake to point fingers in
one direction, although Zola has to shoulder a large chunk of the fault, as
he has done. It shouldn't be forgotten that Wolverhampton Wanderers played
with a hunger, a desire, a will and skill that painted a picture of a team
that is desperate to stay in this division and are likely to do just that.
No way would they give up.
West Ham were desperate to win, but in a way that desperation smacked of a
belief being drained. The boos rang long and hard and angry at the end. And
the goals rained in on West Ham. They too demonstrated the difference
between the teams, the lung-bursting sharpness of Wolves, the lethargic,
uncertainty of a frightened West Ham. Each goal was taken with cold-eyed
aplomb, unerring strikes to beat goalkeeper Robert Green with defender James
Tomkins so traumatised by his horrific error in the first half, which
allowed Kevin Doyle to score, that he was withdrawn - although Zola later
said he was injured. Wounded pride as well as a sore foot perhaps. Behind
Doyle, Wolves had, in David Jones, a midfielder with the desire and skill to
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy had embraced Zola at the start and he probably
felt like doing so again at the final whistle in a show of support. This was
no time to gloat, he knew that, it would seem distasteful in the face of all
this personal grief. But how well his team had played. They were, as they
say, "at it" from the start with Kevin Foley running onto Doyle's flicked
header to rattle the crossbar with a fierce angled shot. Surely that would
serve as a warning for West Ham to sharpen up? It didn't. Soon after Jody
Craddock's routine clearance ran to Tomkins. He had time to pass the ball
back but he horribly miscued his back-pass. It fell to the onrushing Doyle
who calmly beat Green with a low shot. Doyle was spreading uncertainty
throughout the West Ham defence with his tireless presence, perpetual motion
and deceptive pace. Wolves zipped the passes across the turf and Jones
should have had a penalty. On the stroke of half-time there was a flicker of
hope and it came from the returning Scott Parker, who collected the ball and
barrelled into the area to arc a low shot around goalkeeper Marcus
Hahnemann. It struck the post. Parker quickly collected the rebound and from
the tightest of angles shot goalwards, only for Hahnemann to block on the
line. The ball was hacked away. It wasn't happening for West Ham and soon
after Wolves had scored again. Again it owed much to their determination,
with Jones reacting quickly to hold off Matthew Upson before he sliced the
defence apart with a low pass to Ronald Zubar. Sprinting clear on the right
Zubar struck a deflected shot across Green, who was beaten by the power.
West Ham collapsed. A long ball from George Elokobi was taken by Jones and,
once more, he dissected the defenders with Matt Jarvis running onto the ball
to beat Green with a superb low shot. Substitute Guillermo Franco fired
Valon Behrami's pass into the net late on, but it was no consolation.
West Ham's Cole confronts fan after defeat
By Soccernet staff
March 24, 2010
West Ham striker Carlton Cole reportedly had to be restrained by police and
stewards after a confrontation with an unhappy fan immediately after his
side's loss to Wolves on Tuesday night. Cole's strike partner Benni McCarthy
said after the match Cole's team-mates had to get involved to drag Cole off
the pitch and into the dressing room. The 3-1 defeat at Upton Park puts
Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola under extreme pressure as the club slips
another loss closer to relegation - a fate new owners David Sullivan and
David Gold will be desperate to avoid. Cole received a volley of abuse from
irate home fans while leaving the pitch after the match, before he allegedly
returned the treatment with some words of his own and then came back out for
a second time to continue the argument, at which point team-mates and police
intervened. McCarthy said: "I thought Coley knew the guy at first as they
were speaking normally. Eventually I saw some other players go back out and
drag him inside. Maybe what went on today got to him and he reacted the
wrong way.'' Goals from Kevin Doyle, Ronald Zubar and Matthew Jarvis
condemned the Hammers to a fifth consecutive defeat, leaving them three
points above the relegation zone.
Zola on brink after losing "must win" game
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent
March 23, 2010
Gianfranco Zola's future is now highest on the agenda after West Ham were
hammered in a match with Wolves that new owners David Gold and David
Sullivan had earmarked as a "must win" contest for survival. Far from
winning, Zola suffered the humiliation of the club's faithful fans walking
out on their team midway through the second half as the Wolves goals rained
in as heavily as the downpour at Upton Park to highlight the manager's
misery. The new owners, who pumped in £50 million in January to take 50%
from a consortium of banks, with the club £110 million in debt, know that
relegation is unthinkable as it would cost an already financially crippled
club £60 million. Time is running out, the drop is looming ever closer, and
it remains to be seen how much longer Gold and Sullivan can give Zola with
so much at stake. Potentially the very survival of the club is the issue,
not just their Premier League status. The owners described the possibility
of relegation as "Armageddon" and the club are now facing that reality
unless they act to stop the rot. They almost seemed to be having a board
meeting when the third goal went in as Sullivan and Gold were chatting to
those closest to them in the directors' box. They all seemed extremely
agitated. Gold and Sullivan expected at least four points from Tuesday's
game with Wolves and Saturday's clash against Stoke, but that is not going
to happen. The big question is whether Zola quits now or in the summer, or
whether he is sacked now or in the summer. But Zola is taking on the Claudio
Ranieri look of an Italian coach who is a dead man walking. Looking over his
shoulder, Zola knows that Hammers legend Slaven Bilic and out-of-work former
Manchester City, Blackburn and Wales boss Mark Hughes are the names being
touted to take Zola's job either now or later. The cruel Wolves supporters
chanted "You'll be sacked in the morning", but worse still for Zola was the
angry Hammers faithful chanting "You're not fit to wear the shirts".
That would sting the pride of Zola to such an extent there are those inside
Upton Park who think he would rather walk away and let someone else try to
rescue the club from relegation if he felt he was failing to extract every
last ounce of fight from his players. Guillermo Franco came off the bench to
score a consolation goal in injury time, and got a pat on the back from Zola
when the game ended. There was surprise that Benni McCarthy started, and he
looked sluggish, but the new owners had paid a lot of money for the South
African striker in the January transfer window, and there is sure to be a
great deal of speculation regarding how much pressure Zola felt to play him,
rather than Franco, alongside Carlton Cole. Zola's problem is that the new
owners' most likely candidates to replace him are both available. The
Italian, though, is paid £1.9 million a year and it would be expensive to
sack him. It would be far more costly to keep him, if Gold and Sullivan
believe he will take the club down. If Gold and Sullivan do decide to give
Zola another chance, it could only be one last hurrah against Stoke.
Gianfranco Zola says his future is in hands of West Ham United owners
Wolves win 3-1 at Upton Park in relegation battle
Manager says 'worry doesn't help me do a better job'
Dominic Fifield at Upton Park The Guardian, Wednesday 24 March 2010
Gianfranco Zola's reign as manager of West Ham United appeared to be
unravelling last night as his side were condemned to a fifth successive
Premier League defeat, a humiliating 3-1 loss at home to Wolverhampton
Open dissent erupted in the stands as West Ham capitulated around the hour
mark and after the final whistle stewards and West Ham players intervened to
drag the England striker Carlton Cole away from one furious supporter at the
mouth of the tunnel. Zola accepted blame for a defeat that leaves the club
three points from the relegation zone and admitted his future was in the
hands of the owners.
"The owners can do whatever they feel is the right thing to do," said Zola,
who was not appointed by the new owners, David Sullivan and David Gold. "I
try to do my work as best I can every single day. If that's not good enough,
not considered good enough ... I have no time or desire to live worrying
about things. Worry doesn't help me do a better job.
"We tried tonight but in a disorganised way and that's very painful for me.
It's my duty to correct that and I take full responsibility for that. I try
to concentrate on the things I can do rather than the things I can't.
Whether I will be able to do that, I don't know. We will see. I've got a
long night in front of me to think about that."
Cole's confrontation with a fan soured the mood further, the pair having an
altercation as the forward trudged from the pitch. "I saw some of the other
players go back out and drag Coley inside," said the striker Benni McCarthy.
"Maybe what happened today triggered emotions and he reacted in the wrong
"He had a problem with a fan but Carlton Cole represents West Ham and he's
trying," added Zola, who is 10 months into a three-year contract worth £1.9m
a season. "Whether he's not playing at his best right now is another matter,
but he's trying. If the fans have to pick on someone, they should pick on
"The team is not performing very well right now, not playing very well, and
I take responsibility for that. So I have to take the criticism. Last year,
when we were playing well, the fans were showering me with compliments. Now
they're blaming me but I have no problem with that. I have to put things
right. There's a long night in front of me to think about that."
West Ham make play for Olympic Stadium – with athletics included
Karren Brady acknowledges need for athletics facility
West Ham may become continental-style community club
Owen Gibson The Guardian, Wednesday 24 March 2010
West Ham United's plan to move to the Olympic Stadium in 2012 has taken a
huge step forward as the club unveiled an ambitious joint bid with Newham
council that could resolve lingering tensions between football and athletics
The Olympic Park Legacy Company yesterday invited expressions of interest
and the Guardian has learned that the West Ham vice-chairman, Karren Brady,
has also had positive discussions with UK Athletics about a 60,000-capacity
stadium that could be used for football in the winter and athletics and
cricket in the summer. "We acknowledge the need for the stadium to host
world-class athletics and so it should. But it can accommodate football, too
– and a whole lot more. There has to be a way of achieving that," she said.
Newham's mayor, Sir Robin Wales, enthusiastically backed the mooted
partnership and said that the scheme could be catalyst for the
transformation of the park into a well-used hub after the Games, with West
Ham becoming a community sports club along continental lines.
"The football club can give a legacy to athletics by encouraging 60,000
people to watch the sport in the summer," Brady said. "We would be able to
use our sporting infrastructure to develop theirs. I really believe it could
become a fantastic provision for young people."
The move would also allow West Ham's owners, David Gold and David Sullivan,
to compete with Arsenal and Spurs in revenue-generating terms. The stadium's
location close to a host of public transport links and next door to the new
Westfield shopping centre would open it up to West Ham's fanbase to the
north and east.
"It's a no-brainer," said Wales. "It's good for us, it's good for the
borough, it's good for the club. West Ham are a good neighbour; we believe
they are very focused and very positive about making this happen." Gold said
he believes the stadium will become "another white elephant" unless West Ham
If successful, the proposal would allow the 2015 Rugby World Cup as well as
the prospective 2015 World Athletics Championships and the 2018 football
World Cup to make use of the stadium.
Initiatives that will be discussed as part of the joint bid will include the
possibility of a commitment to low-priced tickets for young people from the
area, the provision of a school and NHS walk-in centres within the stadium
and the expansion of West Ham's community schemes.
Brady is believed to be considering ways of making the scheme attractive to
the athletics community, such as selling year-round season tickets that
would allow access to all events in the stadium, which could also include a
handful of high- profile Twenty20 cricket internationals.
While the detail of the joint bid still has to be fully worked out, it is
being prepared on the assumption that West Ham would pay the majority of the
£100m-plus costs involved in converting the £537m Olympic Stadium using the
proceeds from selling the Boleyn Ground. The stadium at present lacks the
catering or hospitality facilities required.
Lord Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic
Games, and the Olympics minister Tessa Jowell have been insistent on the
commitment to an athletics legacy made when London won the Games in 2005.
But Wales and others, including the shadow sports minister Hugh Robertson,
have long believed that having West Ham as an anchor tenant is the only way
to secure a sustainable future for the stadium.
"The only realistic solution is to make the stadium work for a Premier
League football team and that should be West Ham. We have never understood
why that wasn't obvious," Wales added yesterday.
West Ham and Newham now have eight weeks to work on the detail of the bid.
It is likely that UK Athletics may end up backing several offers, as long as
they promise to preserve the running track and offer a sustainable legacy
for the sport.
Launching the "memorandum of information" for interested bidders, the chief
executive Andrew Altman said: "The stadium is a truly iconic structure that
should be a focal point for sport and community-led events including
schools, clubs and creative and social enterprises. A successful legacy is
vital to the company's long-term aspirations for the Olympic Park."
Ed Warner, the chairman of UK Athletics, said last night that his talks with
Brady had been encouraging. "We are interested in working with any serious
party. We are keen to ensure there is a right solution for British athletics
after the Games. It would be foolish for us to commit to any single plan
from the off. We are happy to co-exist with Premier League football or any
other sport, but not on any terms."
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